Karen Richards

Reporter

Karen Richards has been a volunteer reporter since the fall of 2012.

Ways To Connect

Rachael McDonald

Oregon’s Farm to School and School Garden programs may get a boost next school year. A bill to increase funding by over four million dollars passed through a legislative committee last week.

Lawmakers heard from 12 stakeholders of farm to school programs. They passed the bill unanimously to the Ways and Means committee, which will now decide the level of funding. Megan Kemple is with the Farm to School Network. She says the bill will allow all school districts in Oregon to participate through a non-competitive process:

This week is spring break for all the major universities and school districts in Oregon. With that in mind, officials are urging drivers to be extra cautious.

In addition to in-state vacationers, roads may be swelled by travelers from California, which also has many schools on break. Shelley Snow is with the Oregon Department of Transportation. She says the Fourth of July is the most deadly time on the roads, but drivers shouldn’t be complacent this time of year: 

Thursday was the filing deadline for four Eugene 4J school board positions. The final list shows Alicia Hays unopposed, Jim Torrey with two opponents, and Mary Walston with one challenger. The seat being vacated by Craig Smith has three candidates.

Oregon has no statewide ballot measures this spring. Lane County residents will vote on a motor vehicle registration fee. Benton County will weigh in on an ordinance addressing genetically modified foods.

Ballots will be mailed May 1st in Lane County for the May 19th special election.

Meyer Memorial Trust

One of the largest private foundations in Oregon awarded over $9.5 million dollars in February alone. Starting today, the Meyer Memorial Trust is suspending its programs to refocus its giving.

The Meyer Memorial Trust was created in 1982 by the estate of grocery magnate Fred Meyer, but is not connected to the grocery store. Kimberly Wilson is with the Trust. She says the seven-nine month hiatus will help the organization be more directed:

A fifth University of Oregon student has tested positive for the meningococcemia bacteria. This is the first confirmed case since a student died of the illness last month.

The student is a sophomore who lives at the Capstone complex in downtown Eugene. He was diagnosed Thursday with the bacteria that can cause a deadly blood infection. Mike Eyster is Executive Director of the U of O Health Center. He says they alerted the campus community immediately:

www.merkley.senate.gov

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley will host town hall meetings in Benton, Linn, and Lane counties this weekend. The Senator visits each of Oregon's 36 counties every year, inviting residents to talk about their concerns and suggest ideas to bring to Congress. Merkley will also update residents on his work in Washington, D.C. He will visit Corvallis, Halsey, and Eugene on Saturday, March 14th. 

Details are on Merkley's website, here.

Karen Richards

Two local entrepreneurs with a taste for travel are launching a book project they hope will inspire conversation and form world-wide connections.

Derek Miller and Jasem Dulany are in their mid-twenties and have traveled to Dubai, South Korea, Italy, and the Czech Republic. Everywhere they go, people want to discuss basic human questions. Last fall, they decided to collect some answers and photographs from wide ranging locations and present them in a glossy book. Dulany describes why they’re calling the project “One Hundred Marbles:”

Lane County's new internal auditor, Shanda Miller, started her job in mid-February. She was introduced to the public and the board of commissioners last week.

Miller spent the first few weeks in her new job meeting with various department heads, learning about what they do and the challenges of their jobs. County Spokeswoman Anne Marie Levis:

Levis: "As a performance auditor, her job very much is to look at efficiencies with the county, ways to do things better, ways to have cost savings."

Karen Richards

Senator Ron Wyden met with leaders of several Oregon fire prevention agencies today (Thursday) in Springfield. He's proposed legislation he hopes will make their jobs easier, as they face another potentially dangerous fire season.

With precipitation in the Willamette Basin currently at ten percent of normal, firefighters say they're doing work now they usually do in June. Senator Wyden is aware of the urgency. He and Idaho Republican Senator Mike Crapo have introduced a bill to classify mega-fires as natural disasters.

The Eugene 4J School Board has chosen three finalists to be the next superintendent. [includes photos]

School board members had a busy weekend, interviewing seven candidates. They selected three finalists, all of whom have ties to Oregon and currently hold superintendent positions. Jennifer Geller is the school board member chairing the search:

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